Occupy the squares, free buildings

Miguel Ángel Martínez, Ángela García

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The 15-M movement has faced financial crisis and neoliberal policies with an explosive and sustained social mobilisation of a precarious multitude. Organisational autonomy and transnational networks also defined the novelties of this movement. In this article we explain the main structural components of the 15- M movement and argue that the initial protest camps served as models of selforganisation and direct democracy, beyond their function as mere means for fuelling major discontents. Secondly, we explain how a virtuous convergence between the occupiers of the squares and the squatters of buildings was produced. Based on an empirical research of the Madrid case, we conclude that the convergence of those two social movements was possible due to: a) a process of "cumulative chains of activists exchanges"; b) specific socio-spatial and sociopolitical opportunity conditions; c) the successful appeal to both squatters and occupiers of the campaign "stop foreclosures" by bringing about the housing question as a key issue within the 15-M movement. Among the consequences of this mutual collaboration, squatting gained an increasing legitimacy and was more frequently practised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-184
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


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